Paul Lewis studies urban policy and local governments in the United States, and is also interested in the way people think and make judgments about public policy issues. Much of his published work examines urban and metropolitan development, and local policies toward immigrants. He is the author of Shaping Suburbia: How Political Institutions Organize Urban Development (Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1996), coauthor of Custodians of Place: Governing the Growth and Development of Cities (Georgetown Univ. Press, 2009), and coauthor of Policing Immigrants: Local Law Enforcement on the Front Lines (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2016). His research has appeared in Economic Development Quarterly, Housing Policy Debate, Journal of the American Planning Association, Journal of Policy History, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Journal of Urban Affairs, Law & Policy, Political Behavior, Political Research Quarterly, Polity, Social Sciences, State and Local Government Review, and Urban Affairs Review, and in several edited volumes and policy reports.
Lewis's research has received funding support from the National Science Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. From 1996-2005, he was a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. He has served on editorial boards for Urban Affairs Review, Journal of Urban Affairs, and State and Local Government Review. He has considerable experience conducting and analyzing elite surveys, having administered surveys to various sets of local government officials on nine occasions.